Share This Page

Bishop Canevin baseball streaking into the playoffs

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
File photo
John O'Donnell and the Bishop Canevin baseball team are looking to get past the opening round of the WPIAL playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Finding consistency has been hard for the Bishop Canevin baseball team.

The Crusaders were breaking several new faces into the lineup this season, but the transition period was sent into turmoil with the cancellation of six of the team's seven nonsection games.

“There were some growing pains early on in the section games,” Bishop Canevin coach Dale Checketts said. “But it is paying dividends now.”

The Crusaders finished the season on a 5-1 streak to clinch their second straight playoff berth with a 7-4 record. Bishop Canevin finished its late-season run with a 7-1 win over Monessen last week.

The Crusaders jumped ahead in the bottom of the first as senior Jim Dlugos nailed a three-run homer. A wild pitch later in the inning allowed sophomore Mitchell Tauffer to steal home, and a single from junior Zach Cortese drove home a run to give Bishop Canevin a 5-0 lead.

“From a pitching standpoint, it was big,” senior Nico DiPaolo said. “It helped me with us having a lead. It also helped with momentum with our bats coming alive.”

A Mark DeSchon shot to the gap between center and left field drove home Tauffer in the top of the third to extend the Crusaders' lead. The Greyhounds scored a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Bishop Canevin kept them at bay. A wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth allowed sophomore Giovanni DeMarzo to steal home to round out the Bishop Canevin scoring.

DiPaolo pitched a whole game and recorded seven strikeouts.

“He worked ahead in his counts,” Checketts said. “When you get ahead, it allows you to use your other pitches to get three strikes. He did a nice job.”

The win over the Greyhounds gave the Crusaders a 7-3 record in Section 2-A play for a second-place finish in the team's first season in the section after dropping down from Class AA. They finished behind Serra Catholic (10-0) and ahead of Monessen and Frazier (5-5) in the section's playoff battle.

“It was different,” Dlugos said about the drop in classification. “There were longer bus rides and we missed more school, but baseball is baseball. We played good teams that prepared us for the playoffs.”

Once the team was able to get onto the field and play consistently, it started to see growth. During the team's 5-1 late-season run that clinched a playoff berth, Bishop Canevin outscored its opponents, 71-16.

“We had some trial and error with the younger guys,” Checketts said. “They are realizing what it takes to play defense and what needs to be done to move on in the playoffs.”

The teams four seniors — DiPaolo, Dlugos, Jimmy Canton and Kay Joseph — already know what needs to be done to extend their season. They know this is their last chance to do something special and are going to leave it all out on the field.

“(DiPaolo) is the only one playing college baseball,” Canton said. “This is our last ride. We want to go out on top.”

“This is a great group of guys,” Dlugos added. “I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. It will be sad when it is over, but hopefully that isn't for a while.”

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at nsmith@tribweb.com or 412-388-5813.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.